When I sat down at my desk a few days ago, the room suddenly turned dark, and there was a loud buzzing sound. I realized I had entered a wormhole, and I was being transported back in time to a day several years ago.
* * *
I was running on a dirt trail in a park near my home and I was listening to an audiobook on my iPod Shuffle. The book was one of the Rabbi Small mysteries by Harry Kemelman, and I was enjoying the story. As I jogged by a fence and around a turn, a thought lit a fire in my brain. I could write a mystery as good as the one I was listening to! It would be fun to write a novel just to see what it would be like. I finished my run, returned home, showered and dressed. Then I sat down in a recliner in our living room with my computer on my lap and began to type.
* * *
The wormhole suddenly closed, and I was back at my desk, a relatively new, six-foot-long testimony to my dedication to this writing journey. Desk-reorg day is later in the week, so the desk is messy, piled with papers and post-it notes – reminders of upcoming events and to-dos I shouldn’t ignore.
Two whiteboards sit on the back of the desk, leaning against the wall with lists of books to read and others I’ve read and need to review. A map of the Hero’s Journey is magnetically tacked to one of the whiteboards along with a few inspirational sayings. Reminders to Make Haste Slowly, Be Intentional, Make It Count.
My writing calendar is just inside the middle drawer of the desk. A glance at the page tells me about my obligations this month for blog posts, book promotions, meetings, and everything else that’s writing-related.
The Windows 10 laptop in front of me on the desk houses dozens of directories containing information from branding to short stories, from newsletters to marketing graphs. This is where I handle email, write articles, post to social media, create jpgs and pngs to market books and share thoughts on writing.
A second laptop, a Mac, sits on the desk’s pullout shelf to my left. It’s owned by the publishing company my husband and I formed in order to publish our own works. I use it to format and publish the final copies.
A third laptop, another Mac, stays on the bar in the kitchen where I can glance over an occasional news story while I eat breakfast. Scrivener lives on that Mac, and it accompanies me to my office recliner, along with a glass of sparkling water when I sit down to spend serious time on my WIP.
A list of writing goals is taped to the back of my office door so I see it every time I close the door to begin work.
Bookshelves against the wall next to my recliner are filled with books on the craft of writing, constant reminders of how much I still have to learn. The bottom shelf contains copies of my three published novels as well as my husband’s recently published debut novel. Three-ring binders contain pages of notes on each of my books as well as several works-in-progress.
Other bookshelves in my office and throughout the house contain favorite tomes. (I really should spend some time reorganizing so I don’t have to go on safari just to find what I’m looking for.)
* * *
How did I get here? I was going to write just one novel. It was going to be fun, an act of exploration, like climbing a mountain. Do it once for the experience.
But then I discovered the craft and the joy of writing.
So TKZers: When did you decide to write that first novel? How did you get to the present moment? Were you surprised by the journey? Are you going to stay the course?